Red Shoes / Red October, 2021

Idea and choreography: Mateja Bučar
Idea in visual concept: Vadim Fiškin
Movement/dance/co-creation: Kristina Aleksova, Katja Legin, Tina Valentan Sound,
Music: S.Kurjohin, F. Chopin, J. S. Bach, B. Savski,…
Production: The DUM Association of Artists
Coproducers: Kino ŠIŠKA, LGL, Ljubljana Puppet Theater

Pia Brezavšček


Where does dance come from? Is it true that there are shoes that just dance on their own? Do we express ourselves with them or do maybe they express themselves with us? Dance can express forms, tasks, problems, desires, ideas. It is not only about expression, but also about a relationship that is created through dance: »May I ask you for a dance?« But it isn’t only Cinderella who dances with the prince, the child also dances with their toy, and when they stomp on the floor, they are dancing with it, even when they fall. Movement and dance are a game with the world, with the force of gravity, the shapes and hardnesses of things, as well as the relationships between people.

Red shoes seem perfect for dancing. Everything is easier with them, as they seem to dance on their own, which is why every little dancer probably »urgently« needs them. Even mom says that she runs easier in her new, super sneakers, and she thinks she’s beautiful only in salons. She already has so many that you can’t even close the closet! Sometimes we believe so strongly that we have changed because we’ve stepped into someone else’s shoes, that it really changes us – we walk, we appear, we move, we dance differently; Who am I, are you, the one who is constantly changing when we meet objects and people? Some are more interesting to us than others, with some we step into a magical dance from which we do not come out the same.

Sometimes, certain things can possess us too much, we are seduced by their flash. Desire dances on its own, as if we had no more control, much like the red shoes take away Karen, the little girl in that slightly scary Andersen fairy tale.

But just as the red shoes decide to enchant the wearer, they can also have an unusual power like Dorothy’s magical glowing red shoes from the movie, »The Wizard of Oz«, which defend her from the wicked witch and are for her that magical accessory which can transport her wherever she wants to go, by clicking her heels thrice. Without realizing it, she literally always already carries her home on her feet, as she owns exactly that which has the will and power – to take her home, at any time.

Today we live fast and each day we have contact with a huge number of people, of things. We have to dance every day with many new external or completely insignificant impressions. This is not easy; we often no longer know what is important and what is not. And so, let’s not stop dancing! Let’s rather help each other by dancing our lives together with those we trust. Courageously, let’s put on the red shoes!


What is it that animates us, what is the cause for movement, what spins us around and dances us?

Every dancing body has a specific materiality, its own “exterior”. Between bodies and between other physical objects, collisions and interactions happen, which are or are not the fruit of their will, which arise from volition or reflex, from desire or necessity. We coordinate movements knowingly and unknowingly when they are in the function of an activity and in interaction with the material world. When we sit down on a chair, its shape choreographs our body.

That which moves us like a kind of drive, can move into partial objects – separate from us, such as in Andersen’s rather morbid fairy tale, into red shoes, when a girl’s feet, dressed in enchanted shoes go wild and force her to dance like in some dance mania, such as were actually recorded in the Middle Ages. Dorothy, from the movie The Wizard of Oz, also has red shoes, and for her they are the magical accessory that take her exactly where she wishes to go, with a triple click of the heels. At the beginning of the 20th century, a harmonious, centered movement and independent dance emerged, arising from a self-contained, unrepeatable self, the origin of which Isadora Duncan (then a pioneer of modern dance) discovered in the ‘solar plexus’, in the centre of the body, somewhere between the ribs: the ‘solar plexus’, that red-glowing source, has moved all throughout the body in the exploration of all dimensions of movement, and has sometimes even located itself outside the body, in objects and coincidences. It is also no coincidence that this same time is also a time of intensive research of the human psyche and a time when Sigmund Freud developed psychoanalytic theory, and in a way also located our motor for movement: the drive. It is reservedly present in all interpersonal relationships and persists in the relationship with the ego. Jacques Lacan later summed this up in the formula, »desire is the desire of the Other.« A desire that is elusive.

What happens when the red shoes start to multiply, come into possession of their own mind, and a not always predictable will, which changes speed and direction, altering bodies and flattening the field. The development of artificial intelligence and other findings have led us to the necessity of considering non-human beings as agents, and this has decentralized us in our actions. The boundary between manipulation and free action is difficult to detect and reconstruct through the agent networks. Who or what moves whom or what? It appears that the engine for movement in late capitalism has gone schizophrenic – not only is it unfocused, but it is also fragmented, evasive, accumulating, and it forces toward a constant search for a new object. It absorbs energy and depletes.

And how can this foolishness be reversed? Who is the captain of the Red October submarine, and »for whom« do they work? How to re-saturate all this dispersion of things with meaning, how to summon back the momentum? How to color desire more – red? In Anti-Oedipus, Deleuze and Guattari say: The thesis of schizo-analysis is simple: desire is machine, a synthesis of machines, mechanic allocation – desiring-machines. The order of desire is that of production; all production is desiring production and social production.” The event Red October allows us to enter the guts of the desiringmachine. We are all constantly assembling ourselves into desiring machines – with people, non-humans, objects, bots, codes, feelings. Maybe October will once again be that revolutionary month when everything will – coincide and assemble.